Ron Burgundy, eat your heart out

If you’ve been working for the same newspaper for eight years, it stands to reason that you might become just the slightest bit bored with the annual arrival of the same special issue over and over and over again. When that boredom comes a’knocking, you have one of two choices: sink into a morass of whiny self pity or produce something that impresses even you–a cynic who goes to community talent shows to laugh at people who can’t sing (most of the laughter is in my head, but still).

I’d like to think I opt for the latter (usually, anyway). Which is why I’m particularly proud of New Times‘ 2014 NT page 01 05.15Best Of issue, which is still only a couple of hours old. Months of work went into this issue, from recruiting suckers who don’t know better than to refuse to participate in a photo shoot for me–we call them models, but really they’re suckers–to calling up businesses for each of our write-ups. And then editing. Rounds and round of editing. So much editing my brain still feels numb.

I’m not sharing the entire issue here. For that you’ll have to visit the paper’s website. But I am sharing some of the cover and gateway images I worked on.

Our theme, by the way, was “archenemies,” paying homage to some of our favorite foes across a variety of media–film, literature, popular culture, etc. Note the cover with God and Lucifer grappling over the fate of the world. (If you haven’t read Paradise Lost, by the way, you absolutely should.)

While I’m generally loathe to lead with my favorite photo shoot, I’m posting these in the order in which they appeared in the paper and this was the cover for our Best Of pull-out. It was inspired by the media battle in Anchorman, and I’m particularly proud because those fierce, leisure suit-wearing warriors you see below aren’t just any models. Those are all proud members of San Luis Obispo County’s local media–reporters, editors, anchormen and women. Specifically, we had several members of New Times‘ editorial team (including myself, trying to look as much like Ron Burgundy as possible) as well as KSBY, Tolosa Press, KCBX, The Cuestonian, and the Mustang News. The fact that all these ridiculously busy people were willing to meet in an alleyway on a hot afternoon for the entertainment of New Times readers speaks highly to commitment to the community. And yes, I know that might sound silly but I’m not being the least bit sarcastic. To me, having a sense of humor about yourself is next to godliness, and I think the fact that everyone showed up for this photo shoot and absolutely went for it is just incredible.

Best of Cover_adjusted

Our Table of Contents provided a close-up view of our arts editor and senior staff writer in costume. Clearly, we take ourselves very seriously as a newspaper.

BO 2014 Page 04(j)

Jocks vs. Nerds–a classic enmity hearkening back to high school. (We didn’t have enough models so I jumped in as a violent jock wearing, of course, my letterman’s jacket from high school.) Also, the photo ran across a two-page spread which is the reason it’s split down the middle.

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BO 2014 Page 11(j)

Kill Bill is one of my favorite movies (yeah, I tend to consider as a single, perfect movie rather than two) so I’ve ben hankering to do a Kill Bill-inspired photo shoot and the archenemies theme gave me the perfect opportunity. And, of course, I’m one of the barely-visible bodies sprawled across the ground.

BO 2014 Page 25(j)

Our shoot pitting Sherlock (our photographer, Henry Bruington, making a genius expression) and Watson (our arts editor’s husband who handled the candlestick masterfully enough that we avoided burning the place down) against Moriarty (the member of a local vampire motorcycle gang, I believe) featured the fewest models but I love it for its simplicity, for the fact that there’s enough breathing room to really linger on the details of the models’ expressions.

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Blonds vs brunettes. Honestly, there are so many amazing things happening in this photo that you need to give yourself time to peruse every inch of photo.

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BO 2014 Page 52(j)

Peter Pan is one of my favorite characters of all time. Also, when shooting this photo I fell off the ridge where Captain Hook and Smee are hanging out. But, as a staff writer pointed out, it wouldn’t be a photo shoot without me discovering some new way to injure myself.

BO 2014 Page 60(j)

And then there’s more of this amazingness, proving that San Luis Obispo County has the coolest local media, that my boyfriend looks awesome in hideous ’70s pants, and that dreams really do come true.

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BO 2014 Page 67(j)




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